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Allergies and Skincare: A Beginner's Guide

Many people ask us how they would know if they have an allergy that affects their skin. The answer is both easy and hard.

Something’s Not Right – Check Your Symptoms
The easy part is usually there is a sign something is wrong: excessively itchy skin, hives or a rash, red and overly sensitive skin that hurts. Skin that is angry no matter what you do. First, take note if you have recently started using a new product – that is the first place to look for potential allergens. Sometimes you can deduct what the offending ingredient is. If so, try to eliminate it and see how you feel for a few weeks. If you’ve removed the offender, you may feel instantaneous improvement; if not, you’ll still experience symptoms.

Side note – always remember: Your SKINCARE SHOULD NEVER HURT! If it does you’re using something you shouldn’t be.

Trying the elimination approach can help you in the short term, but we always recommend that you also have an allergen-patch test to help you learn what truly is irritating to your skin.

Next Step – Patch Tests And More...
This is the harder part. Most people associate a patch test with a visit to an allergist, but that’s only half of it. With some of the symptoms noted above, you may also benefit from seeing a dermatologist for a skin focused patch test in order to get more accurate results. My experience? I had several rounds of patch testing done with both an allergist and a dermatologist. Why? Because an allergist typically tests for environmental allergies such as pollen, mold, and dander, as well as food. While some of these allergens can be found in skincare, there are plenty of others. For example, you can have allergies to chemicals, preservatives, dyes, and other compounds found in skincare. Having an allergen test with a dermatologist is recommended for this reason; I found many of my allergens this way, and it was helpful in understanding the ingredients and compounds that were making me feel unwell and causing my skin to break out in weird ways.

Getting tested is ultimately the best way to be certain of your skin issues and give yourself the peace of mind that you need. Be forewarned, though: The patch tests can be uncomfortable and cause itchiness. But the results will be worth it. You’ll finally understand what to exclude to feel healthier and have skin that can finally heal.

After getting an allergy diagnosis from your doctor, your journey with allergies is just beginning. You’ve landed on your personal allergy exclusions, now it’s time to put them all down on one piece of paper and start learning about all of the derivative ingredients that also need to be on your exclusion list. What do I mean by that? For instance, I am highly allergic to almonds. That’s easy right? No almond oil or meal in any products. Yes, but for instance, there’s also a sneaky ingredient called mandelic acid. It’s billed as a hip new skincare acid that promises to work as an anti-inflammatory and sebum regulator for sensitive skin. Guess what? It’s derived from almonds. That’s a no-go for me. This is the really hard part: there are many other ingredients that have names you may not associate with allergens, so you need to read labels of everything you ingest and put on your body and do online research to find the other exclusions you need to be mindful of. It’s true, taking care of yourself like this will seem like a lot of work, but you will feel rewarded with improved health and a happy glow to your skin.

After 10 years of trial and error, I was motivated to start Starling and provide effective products that others with allergies could feel safe using. This is personal to us. We know there are others out there just like us with allergies and sensitive skin who want to look better and feel better. People who were terrified to try skincare products for fear of throwing their skin out of balance or into a reaction.

Let Starling take the guesswork out of the allergen conundrum for you. We clearly and plainly note all of our excluded ingredients on our site. And we promise to never change the exclusions. It’s important to us. Our high quality, plant-based ingredients will protect, nourish, and moisturize your skin. We are invested in your skin health and happiness.